Burlington Mac maker Jerry Manock remembers his old boss: Steve Jobs
I came across this fascinating piece today on 7dvt.com. Its an interview with Mr Jerry Manock. Jerry is credited with the design of the Macintosh.
Its a brilliant insight into Jerry but he also comes out with a bits about his relationship with Jobs in those early days
His genius was in synthesizing different technologies and putting them together to solve a problem that you didn’t know you had — a couple of years out. Apparently, before he died, he laid out four to five years of product-succession plans.
Walking back from lunch one day, I said, Steve, you paid me $1800 for the Apple II, and it’s getting to be more and more popular, and I really think I ought to have a royalty on that. I ought to get, like, a dollar a unit, because $1800 wasn’t all that much. He never hesitated. He looked at me and said, “You’re very good. But if you knew how many we thought we were going to sell in the next two or three years … You’re not that good.” What do you say to that? He was absolutely right. How many millions of those things did they sell? You can’t ask for royalties after you’ve delivered the work, so it was totally stupid and naïve on my part. And he was a really incredible negotiator.
My belief is that he wanted interaction, but he was too young to really know how to ask for it. So I’d take a day or two to prepare, then go back to his office and say, “Steve, when you came by the other day, I wasn’t able to tell you these things, but this is why I did what I did.” He’d look at all of it and say, “OK, that’s fine. That’s great. Keep going.”
I can remember a meeting, with what must have been 50 or 60 people, for an Apple project. The manager of the peripherals division did a critical path analysis of how long it would take to do. It was maybe a three-year time frame. Steve came in and sort of looked at it and said, “I want it done in nine months.” We all knew the analysis going in. When we walked out, we looked at each other and said: “We just agreed to do it in nine months. What happened?” Of course we did it in, probably, 10 months. He had this way of projecting that vision: his “reality distortion field.”
Steve’s probably directly responsible for the experience of opening the box. The first thing you’d see was a plastic box that said, “Open me first.” Graphic pictures showed you how to set it down on the desk, take this end of the cord and plug it in. Then the computer was programmed to come on and smile at you and lead you on to the next step. It was all part of the design of the product. Packaged experience. That’s concurrent engineering. You don’t have responsibility for just one part of the product. That was Steve’s vision.
When the iPhone came out, I sent Steve an email saying, “Why don’t you just buy your own communications satellite to have a worldwide cell network. AT&T has the iPhone in Vermont, and we use Verizon. His response was: “Thank you, Jerry.”
Mary Ellen and I went to California — it must have been 10 years ago. We went to the annual meeting, unannounced, and sat in the fourth row. The executive staff came onstage and they sat on their little stools, going through their business. Steve looked over at us and he did a double take. I thought, Well, that’s really nice. He recognized us. At the end of the meeting, when they asked if there was any more business, Steve said, “I have some business.” He said, “I just want to acknowledge Jerry Manock.” And he told of our contribution, being on the Macintosh team. Everybody stood up. It was a standing ovation. He didn’t have to do that.
To me, basically, [Steve] was a compassionate person, who had super high expectations and tried to get the best out of everybody. He had a vision that we certainly didn’t have… People took the creativity it gave them and added their own, and made it fit, which is really rewarding.
I was really happy to see the picture on the back of the book, with the original Macintosh on it. That’s how I remember Steve.
I urge you to read the full piece its a great read. 7dvt.com